Capital Region Timekeepers: Joe Daley Interview By: OP Callaghan

Written by on May 9, 2022

Welcome to the first installment of Capital Region Timekeepers! As a drummer in the 518 (for far longer than I care to remember} I have been so fortunate to see an incredible amount of local percussion flair. Because of all that talent, I decided to showcase some local drumming celebrities, and dig a little deeper.

I first met Joe Daley in the early 90’s. I had just graduated from college and returned to the area to work and play in a band.  Joe and I became quick friends, which is easy with Joe, because he is one of the nicest guys I know. His drumming is clean, precise and has been described by Chris Busone. as “like a freight train headed right for you”.  Joe is a drummer’s drummer; he plays for the song, just like Ringo, but with more power, like Bonham. He has great chops, near perfect time, stays away from the theatrics, and appears to be at home behind his kit.  So, let’s welcome the man behind Super 400, the one and only, Joe Daley!

RRX: How old were you when you started drumming, and what inspired you to play?

JD: When I was 11 years old, my brothers were both on their way to becoming great musicians. They talked my folks into buying me a guitar, which is what I asked for. It was a Fender Bronco, all black, pretty cool!  I seemed to be more interested in the drum sticks and practice pad that was laying around. Nothing about a practice pad is exciting. At that point, my brother Frank traded my guitar in for a beat up vintage Yamaha kit. He never asked me what I thought, but he was right on.  So, I guess I started playing for real at the age of 12.

RRX: Do you play any other instruments?

JD: Somehow, I have been lucky enough to come up with song ideas messing around on the guitar or piano. I can’t really play either, but if you can play the drums, I think that it helps you communicate a song idea.

RRX: Do you write lyrics?

JD: I have pitched in over the years.

RRX: Tell me about your playing history.

JD: I’ve been blessed to play with Super 400 for almost 26 years. They are brilliant musicians, and two of my all-time favorite people.  I’ve done a ton of gigs with my brothers Frank and Jack (The Daley Brothers), some separate, some together.  I’m really proud of that.  They are my original heroes.  I’ve also played for The Chris Busone Band, The Jive Bombers, Blue Machine, Gideon Luke and The People, Dana Fuchs and Soul Seranade. There’s a few I’m forgetting, but that’s plenty.

RRX: Do you have a favorite gig?

JD: Best gig has to be the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria Spain. Around 2007.  It was a thrilling experience for a band that really needed a thrilling experience at the time. In the years leading up to that gig, we had some challenging times, like every other band.  We went there to do a single gig. A year later we toured all of Spain and met rock fans in every town that happened to be at Azkena. Maybe the highlight of it all.

RRX: Worst gig?

JD: Probably too many to list, so I think that I’ll take the high road on that. Sorry if that’s boring, but the older I get, the more I notice how much positivity helps.

RRX: You’re a Ludwig guy, and we seem to talk about Ludwig a lot. How many kits do you own?

JD: Only five kits.  I struggle with thoughts of downsizing, but I have strong emotional ties to all

RRX: All Ludwigs?

JD: All.

RRX: Tell me about your snare drum.  I’ve played it, and it’s unbeatable.

JD: My prized possession is my 1968 Ludwig Supraphonic 6.5 x 14.  A gift from my honey, Patti.  It always sounds great, a totally magical drum.

RRX: If you could have any other drummer’s kit, who’s drum set would you want?

JD: We were doing a gig in Cleveland, so we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The only thing I cared about was Bonham’s green sparkle Ludwig kit.  I asked the first employee I could find, to point me in the right direction. His family had just taken it home the week before. I want that kit!

RRX: Me too. Favorite drummers, and why?

JD: How many pages do you have?  Ringo, because he played the perfect stuff on the best songs ever. Bonham because he is a genius. Bill Bruford, because he played all of that complicated shit, but still swung so hard. Clyde Stubblefield, Ginger Baker, Mick Avory, Jim Capaldi, Jim Gordon, Steve Jordan, too many to mention.

RRX: Know any good drummer jokes?

JD: Two drummers walk past a bar!. It could happen!

RRX: Ha!  Ok, last question.  The Who lost Keith Moon, and have continued with Kenny Jones, and Zach Starkey. Led Zeppelin lost John Bonham and ended the band.  So, what do you think Dave Grohl will do now?

JD: I really don’t see him hiring a new drummer. My prediction is the band is done, and you will see Dave again in a new project.  

RRX: Let’s hope so.  Have you ever owned roto-toms?

JD: I had the trio set. They really sounded shitty.


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